East Falls Fumbled? For all the panic East Falls Forward created in local organizations, this fledging RCO’s first year didn’t forge very far at all.
Sigh. We had high hopes for East Falls Forward, including this list of 10 of our favorite things we were looking forward to, with a new RCO in town, organized just this past June.
So when the officers announced they’d be taking a Summer vacation after just one public meeting, we tried to be optimistic despite the suspicion that perhaps more motivated leaders might’ve prioritized another meeting or at least a social event where members could keep connected, and continue sharing goals and ideas.
And then this August, we wanted to believe the organization was moving forward when the officers announced a shift from our grassroots online efforts to a slicker, more professionally-branded website designed by one of EFF’s talented members. A great idea that never happened, and unfortunately EFF’s online presence suffered in limbo.
I’d say the sinking feeling didn’t set in, though, until this Fall when EFDC’s Gina Snyder sent out an email to EFF’s membership urging leadership to represent at a very important zoning meeting, and the response came back they were waiting for EFCC’s permission to attend jointly first.
The whole point of a Registered Community Organization is to address zoning matters. Just because one RCO’s running the meeting doesn’t mean they are the only ones who get to address the room. We were gobsmacked. These were the same officers who once declared it was time to “go nuclear” on the calcified ideology choking East Falls’ development.
Well if this is their idea of “nuclear,” I think their reactor is broken.
Finally, in October (and again in November) we reached out to EFF vice president Juliet Geldi via email to ask how we could help get the word out for EFF’s scheduled December meeting. She wrote back: “I am not sure at this point whether there is really anyone to take on the mantle for EFF … I feel like we also haven’t developed it enough to the point where there is much to hand off, other than the RCO designation.”
Wasn’t till December 10th, then, that EFF officers announced a meeting for new elections — giving EFF members just one week to make room in their Holiday schedules for such an important meeting.
Even one of EFF’s most motivated members, Morgan Bound, cancelled the East Falls Forum he created, because “it’s clearly not being used” and other platforms like NextDoor and PhiladelphiaSpeaks were more active (and free).
What Happens Next? This Thursday, East Falls Forward reboots with new elections and hopefully renewed vigor into 2016. Rumor has it Felicite Moorman and/or Ryan Buchert may be stepping in to put their mad CEO’ing skills to use for our community.
Whatever goes down this week, big changes are brewing for East Falls Forward. Make sure you come out to BuLogics on Thursday night at 6:30 to watch and participate in exciting new neighborhood developments. See you there!
EAST FALLS FORWARD
2016 OFFICER NOMINATIONS MEETING
at BuLogics at 3721 Midvale Ave.
DECEMBER 17th, 2015 6:30 PM
The members & officers of East Falls Forward are planning our next meeting for the (regularly scheduled) third Thursday of the month — Thursday, December 17. Location and time will be the same — 6:30 pm at Bulogics’ office.
The agenda will focus on elections process and nominations for those elections will be opened. As stated originally, Angela, Silje, and Juliette will be stepping down and look forward to seeing a new chair, vice-chair, and secretary come forward to lead the charge for East Falls Forward in 2016.
Please spread the word!
— Felicite Moorman
August 22, 2015:
New community organization hits the ground running — our enthusiastic recap, plus video snips: Ten Things To Like From the Last EFF Meeting.
Heading into this recap, we have to thank Ryan Buchert for so expertly working his boom mic to capture perfect sound for the entire meeting. And now I must apologize to everyone for not using it in my clips below buuuuut the entire meeting’s audio can be reviewed FREE here. And here.
If I have time I hope to edit Ryan’s sound into my clips but then again, this was a pretty mellow meeting — mostly announcements and clarifications about agenda items. The meeting’s official minutes will be posted online soon but meanwhile lemme run through my impressions after reviewing our video footage.
TEN THINGS WE REALLY LIKED ABOUT THE LAST EFF MEETING
#10. How short it was! It’s no secret that we hate meetings — this one was mercifully brief, just one hour. But wow it was a full hour. Felicite Moorman‘s mad moderating skills kept things moving but also circled around to recap main points to keep everyone on the same page.
#9. Big fan of the space we meet in, with its tall ceilings, colorful scheme, and funky furniture. And that giant skylight! How can this place not generate positive energy?
#8. Laughter — more than once, the meeting broke out in pleasant, organic chuckles. People seemed relaxed, with lots of nodding & smiling along. The tone reminded me of some of the RAH meeting we’ve attended, among neighbors who clearly were comfortable with each other.
#7. Speaking of RAH, the meeting touched on what we consider a pretty serious issue: distrust between Ridge-Allegheny-Hunting Park’s RCO and pretty much all of East Falls, sigh — and how this affects the boundaries EFF chooses to draw. We heartily applaud audience member James Joseph’s common-sense solution to poll the residents & businesses in the area to see what they want. Well… yeah. That would put the issue to rest, wouldn’t it? Bam! Solved! (seems to be some confusion, however, about where the area of “shared responsibility” is, exactly)
#6. The DIY sensibility running through the audience, from James’s polling idea to president Angela’s informal Ridge clean-up plans (above), to Tree Tender Andrea’s thoughts on organizing tree maintenance with clean-ups — people seemed eager to do stuff themselves. We agree with Angela that it’s important for East Falls to look inviting and appealing to new business and residents, and applaud how she’s willing to put her weed-whacker where her mouth is, er, so to speak.
#5. Speaking of DIY: the East Falls Forward forum! Really love the idea of “working groups” as just online forums where people can toss ideas around, share links and photos, and catch up on neighborhood process in open, informal, and inclusive conversations. Everyone’s so busy these days, really makes sense to allow people to discuss important issues in their own time.
#4. Totally unrelated to EFF but big hand to Ryan’s comically giant microphone!! The audience reaction when he swung it out was precious…
#3. We were psyched by the news that East Falls Forward will be part of a coordinated effort between EFDC & EFCC to create a list of preferred developers (!) to reach out to. The idea is to remind builders & investors that we’re here, and our community is eager to work together to bring more opportunity to this area.
#2. Loved how educational this meeting was! News to us: East Falls’ community only has a short time to weigh in on new zoning going down in Northwest Philly’s new plan. Big Question: Do we want to keep storefronts on our business corridors, or do we prefer a streetscape of condos, townhomes, and apartment buildings? Really appreciate how long-time resident (and zoning whiz) Carolyn Sutton explains the issue in the clip above. The good news is, we have thru late October to talk things out and possibly vote.
#1. Favorite take-away so far? People really want to engage! After the meeting, audience members milled around for a long time — and then a lot of us continued on to Murphy’s to recap others who hadn’t been able to make the meeting. So many people enjoyed the evening, that Felicite & Ryan will be hosting a half-hour of social time before and after the next meeting, to give us all a chance to get to know each other even better.
As creators of many companies, these guys know a thing or two about getting people to work together. Take a look around their offices, you’ll see hammocks, ping-pong, a kegerator, and board games out the wazoo. Ask them what the deal is, and they’ll stress that teamwork begins with bonding, and feeling safe enough with each other to share our bravest & most innovative ideas. How cool that such a important challenge can be met with beer & chit-chat!
Let’s not get too comfortable, though. We happen to know Ryan and Felicite also advocate throwing people of opposite temperaments together on difficult projects so they’ll compete with each other to everyone’s benefit. Social strategists or evil geniuses? Either way, we try to stay on their good side…
To join East Falls Forward or just keep up with community initiatives, check out the following links–
East Falls Forward forum, an online meeting placed 11/2015: DISCONTINUED DUE TO LACK OF ACTIVITY